Hi, my name is Alexis. I am a Senior Program Associate on GlobalGiving’s Project Team. On July 28, 2012, I had the pleasure of visiting These Numbers Have Faces in Cape Town, South Africa and participating in one of These Numbers’ student meetings. In attendance at the event were 14 scholarship recipients and their parents, guardians, or representatives from their families.I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to These Numbers’ programs in South Africa! I had the opportunity to mingle with some of the students and their families and learn more about the program from Edwin and Beata, These Numbers’ staff members in Cape Town.Let me share some of my take-aways from the event:These Numbers is more than a scholarship program. If nothing else, this Saturday meeting showed me that These Numbers is interested in more than providing the money needed to pay for a college education. The organization aims to provide holistic support to help students achieve their full potential. The program pays for text books, pairs students up with tutors, and even works to find alternative housing options for students living in difficult circumstances.These Numbers requires students to get involved in their communities through community service. In order to continue receiving funding from the program, students must complete a certain number of community service hours per year. As a result, students are volunteering at soup kitchens, running clothes collection drives, and tutoring younger students in their neighborhoods. This means that in addition to developing academically, students are taking on leadership roles in their own communities. These Numbers is not just investing in a small group of promising students, they’re investing in an entire community in the greater Cape Town area!These Numbers is facilitating financial re-investment into the program. I was very excited to learn about the organization’s financial reinvestment model, which requires students to reinvest 25% of the cost of their schooling back into the program over the course of several years after graduation. Not only is this a great way to ensure the program’s sustainability, it is also a way for alumni to stay committed to the program’s future success. In addition, Edwin and Beata are already prepping students to become mentors for future students, including requesting their referrals and recommendations for future scholarship applicants.What was even more exciting than the re-investment model itself, was the response the proposal received from the students and parents! The general consensus at the meeting was that it was important for current students to reinvest into the program after they had graduated and secured jobs. As one guardian explained, these students are fortunate to have received the opportunity to go to university; it is up to them to help ensure that other students are afforded the same opportunity.These Numbers incorporates student and parent feedback into their programs. During the meeting, Edwin and Beata spent a lot of time reviewing various aspects of the program, including the re-investment model, for the students and their parents. But beyond telling students about the program, they also asked the students and their parents for their feedback and suggestions! I was thrilled to see the meeting attendees engaging with Edwin and Beata in conversation about the challenges facing the students and the role that These Numbers plays in their education.Thank you, These Numbers, for inviting me to spend the day with you! I had a great time and look forward to my next visit to Cape Town.
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